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Montana family taking action after losing loved one to drunken driver

Montana family taking action after losing loved one to drunk driver
Posted at 6:29 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 11:51:40-04

Montana has one of the highest rates of DUI fatalities, with drunken driving suspected in three fatal crashes in the last few weeks in and around the Billings area.

Robert 'Bobby' Dewbre's family knows the dangers of someone getting behind the wheel drunk. Bobby was killed in March 2023.

Montana family taking action after losing loved one to drunk driver

"My little brother Bobby was killed by a drunk driver while crossing the street to actually get into his sober ride after his 21st birthday,” Carlie Dewbre said on Tuesday. “The driver was more than double the legal limit.”

Bobby's family, of Columbia Falls, had to fight for higher penalties for the person driving who hit Bobby, finally getting him sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Montana family taking action after losing loved one to drunk driver

Bobby was not using a crosswalk when he was hit and killed, so the driver was only charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony. The driver's blood alcohol content was .20.

“Bobby was a real light,” Beth McBride, Bobby's mother, said. “The pain that we have felt, we don’t want anyone else to feel."

Montana family taking action after losing loved one to drunk driver

After her brother died, Dewbre was driving by a bar in the early morning hours and noticed how many cars were left parked outside. This caused her to want to do something for people who were making responsible decisions after drinking. So, the family created Montana Bar Fairies. On Friday or Saturday mornings, they will choose a bar and leave a coffee gift card and a card sharing the story of Bobby or another young girl who died from a drunken driver.

“Just looking for another way to thank people for making a responsible decision and not putting another family through what we’ve been through,” Dewbre said.

McBride also plans to propose a law in Montana's upcoming legislative session in January. Bobby's Law would make the penalty for a person with a BAC or higher than .15 who causes the death of another person to be inherently negligent. A punishment that the man who hit her son never faced.

“It is automatically a felony and has felony consequences,” McBride said. "If he (the driver) wasn’t drunk, he would have stopped, he would have seen him (Bobby).”